Funding

While the timeline for the markup and passage of FY 2011 appropriations bills remains uncertain, the Obama administration released two memos last week “setting guidelines for departments and agencies on their FY 2012 budget requests,” the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition reported. The memos underscore a “growing focus on reducing spending and the deficit”:

Earlier this week, the Alliance sent out a call to contact your Senators and urge them to support full funding of the President’s $58.8 billion FY 2011 International Affairs Budget request. According to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, only 12 Senators have signed the bipartisan letter in support of full funding for the IR budget [new signers to date: Akaka (D-HI), Cardin (D-MD), Casey (D-PA), Collins (R-ME), Gillibrand (D-NY), Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Shaheen (D-NH)].

The Alliance supports the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s call to contact your Senators and urge them to support full funding of the President’s $58.8 billion FY 2011 International Affairs Budget request.

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Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) has joined the roster of the House State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee (which funds State Department exchange programs), filling a vacancy created by the departure of Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), who takes a seat on the Interior and Environment Subcommittee. This change came last Wednesday when the House Democratic Caucus adopted membership changes in Appropriations Subcommittee assignments. 

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Eight former Secretaries of State wrote Congress yesterday to urge support for the President’s $58.5 billion FY 2011 international affairs budget request, Politico and Foreign Policy both report.

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On the heels of yesterday’s Policy Monitor item regarding broad Congressional support for a robust international affairs budget in FY 2011, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) reports that Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad (D-ND) cut President Obama’s FY 11 international affairs budget request by $4 billion, or 7 per cent.

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Several senators, including Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Dick Lugar (R-IN), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter to Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Appropriations Ranking Member Judd Gregg (R-NH) in support of President Obama’s proposed $6.1 billion increase in the foreign operations budget, calling it “an essential component of our national security,” CQ Today reported.

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With a record number of participants—83—the Alliance held its 10th annual Advocacy Day on Thursday, March 4. Alliance members participating in this year’s Advocacy Day visited 104 House and Senate offices and represented a record 26 states, as well as the District of Columbia.

(At right: Advocacy Day participant Ana Gil-Garcia, representing the Fulbright Association, with Illinois Senators Roland Burris and Dick Durbin.)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified at four separate Congressional hearings in the past two days to discuss the Department of State budget request for FY 2011. She appeared before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for State and Foreign Operations and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, and then in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Appropriations Subcommittee for State and Foreign Operations today.

The Obama administration’s FY 2011 budget, released on Monday, requested $58.5 billion for the entire international affairs budget (or 150 Account), representing a $6.1 billion (or 11.6 per cent) increase over total FY 2010 enacted international affairs spending. As the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition reports, nearly 60 per cent of this increase would go to “Frontline States,” including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, leaving a modest growth of $2.5 billion for all other international affairs programs. If enacted, the FY 2011 international affairs budget would be 2.8 per cent above actual FY 2010 amounts, including supplemental appropriations.

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